Your Go-To Preliminary Branding Toolkit
Building the foundation of your brand’s identity is pretty darn important. An exciting yet long-winded, multi-tiered process, it’s also as intimidating as any other stage of setting out to start a business. As graphic designers and branding professionals, we often return to the same elements when strategizing and implementing a successful brand. We’ve compiled a toolkit of the essential concepts and questions we rely on—from defining core values to understanding the competitive landscape to crafting the perfect tagline.
The Building Blocks
What is your origin story? Why did you start your company? What makes your brand different? What are you offering? Why are you doing it? Think of this as your elevator pitch. Write it down and hone it until it feels succinct and powerful.
What goals do you have for your brand? Where do you want to be in 5-10 years? Do you imagine your brand remaining small or competing with heavy-hitters in the space?
What value does your company offer, or what problem are you solving? What emotions do you hope to evoke? These questions can help you formulate your tagline, a snappy, memorable, unique encapsulation (usually 2-5 words) of some element of your brand. Go wild when brainstorming these and don’t put too much pressure on finding “the one” right away. Walk away for a day or two and return to your list of taglines, crossing off ones that no longer resonate. Ask people you trust for their opinions, favorites, and feedback. Over time you will be left with one or two that feel right.
Personality + Voice...
Think of your brand as a person. What descriptive words would you use to describe them (Warm, Optimistic, Sophisticated, etc.)? How do they express themselves? This type of thought experiment helps inform the voice and tone of your company, and will ensure that messaging is consistent across all platforms—from social media to PR materials and beyond.
Which colors do you feel best represents your brand? Which textures patterns? If your brand was an era, what era would it be? These abstract considerations actually help inform designers and can be extremely helpful in understanding the nuances of your brand.
What do you want your customers to feel or experience when they engage with your brand? Identify the prevailing intangible attribute that differentiates the experience of our brand from your competitors’ brands.
Do a deep dive into your direct and indirect competitive landscape. Consider brands in your industry, as well as those in related industries.
Consider COLOR, TYPE STYLES, MESSAGING, and BRAND MARKS. What do you like about them? What do you dislike about them?
Spend some time thinking about your target audience—How old are they? How do they like to spend their time? What words would you use to describe them? What sort of brands do they purchase and/or love? This can help orient your brand in a strategic manner.
From here… get to work on your design!